In addition to adhering to the 'Code of conduct and conflicts of interest' guidelines reviewers have the following responsibilities.
Treat the manuscript as confidential: The manuscript (or its existence) should not be shown to, disclosed to, or discussed with others, except in special cases, where specific scientific advice may be sought; in that event the editor must be informed and the identities of those consulted disclosed. Information acquired by a reviewer from such a paper is not available for disclosure or citation until the paper is published
Destroy/erase the manuscript and to inform the editor should they be unqualified to review the manuscript, or lack the time to review the manuscript, without undue delay.
To judge the manuscript objectively and in a timely fashion: Reviewers should not make personal criticism in their reviews.
To inform the editor if there is a conflict of interest: Specifically, reviewers should not review manuscripts authored or co-authored by a person with whom the reviewer has a close personal or professional relationship, if this relationship could be reasonably thought to bias the review.
To respect the intellectual independence of authors.
To explain and support their judgements so that editors and authors may understand the basis of their comments, and to provide reference to published work, where appropriate.
To inform the editor of any similarity between the submitted manuscript and another either published or under consideration by another journal.
To ensure that all unpublished data, information, interpretation and discussion in a submitted article remain confidential and not to use reported work in unpublished, submitted articles for their own research.
To alert the editor if a manuscript contains or appears to contain plagiarised material, falsified or manipulated data.
To only suggest that authors include citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) own work where this adds value to the scientific aspects of the paper.
Not to retain or copy the submitted manuscript in any form; to comply with data protection regulations, as appropriate.
Not to use information obtained during the peer review process for their own or any other person’s or organisation’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others.